by Lisa Tome
As long as he's having fun, Tom Marinelli has no plans to retire for a second time.
Marinelli, the new principal at Conowingo Elementary School, has already retired once,
following a 34 year career at the Unionville/Chadds Ford School District. He started working in that school district in 1973 teaching middle school. He then was promoted several times, working as an administrator, director of facilities, director of elementary education, and overseeing human resources and pupil services.
When he retired in 2007 he decided to work in Cecil County doing what he loved most - being a principal.
"I always enjoyed being a building principal. And I knew that Cecil values the same things I do - keeping (schools) like family. Everyone in the school is a family and is committed (to learning). I loved being around kids, teaching and learning," said Marinelli.
He was hired by Cecil County Public Schools and spent six years at Thomson Estates Elementary School. Beginning July 1, he was assigned to Conowingo.
"My six years at Thomson were the best of my 40 in education," he said. "We brought a team together there and made it a positive climate for kids and families."
Thomson Estates implemented many programs including the PBIS (behavioral incentives). That school was honored with a pair of bronze awards for success with that program. They were then honored with a silver recognition. This year, the school earned the highest honor for behavioral standards, claiming the gold award.
Now, Marinelli will lead PBIS implementation at Conowingo. "I am excited. We will be doing that here now. They have practiced it and now we will be doing it officially," he said.
The seasoned principal is also getting educated. Marinelli will also have some new aspects to education which he hasn't had before. Conowingo has a Green School designation for being environmentally friendly. The school also has a partnership with North Bay and an outdoor classroom. Conowingo is an active participant in the wellness program Fuel Up to Play 60.
"There are a lot of neat initiatives here that will carry on. I look for opportunities for improvement, but I don't just change things. I know this is an excellent school," he said. He has already met with some staff and has asked them for
their input regarding ways the school can be improved.
Marinelli said he will also focus on maintaining relationships that have already been established. Conowingo's business partner is Rock Springs Generation Facility. The school also partners with the Conowingo Lions Clubs for programs.
"We had a lot of different partnerships in Elkton - with the police, the library, and Singerly (fire company). The fun part is meeting these folks and making lasting connections for we can accomplish great things for kids," he said.
The building is also undergoing a major change this summer. A chiller is being installed and the entire school will now be air conditioned. "That should be in place by mid-September. A temporary chiller will be here. We shouldn't skip a
beat. That will not impact instruction or education," he said.
He said that when he came to Cecil County to interview for a job after retiring, he had planned to work here for five to seven years.
here as long as I'm having fun. I enjoy what I do and I take my vitamin pill
everyday," he laughed. "It might be 5-17 years now. There's no place I'd rather
be. I'd rather come to work than have a honey do list at home."